This weekend, many folks on Facebook asked their fellows to change their avatars to reflect some of their favorite cartoon characters from their childhood. The point was one of those "raising awareness" things where people tie a ribbon or wear a button to "raise awareness" of something that probably was actually staring them in their faces anyway.
Now do not get me wrong, I understand the reasoning for this. And anything effective that would get people to stop this this madness I would greatly support. But here the operative word is effective. Subbing your picture for that of Penelope Pitstop may not be one.
But maybe showing EXACTLY what child abuse looks like might.
The young girl seen in the picture is young Evie Gamble, all of 23 months. According to KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, this is what might have happened:
ENID, OK - An Oklahoma teen is arrested after confessing to severely beating a child. We first showed you graphic pictures of the little girl's injuries last week as police were searching for the person responsible. Tuesday authorities called several people back in for questioning and got a confession.
"The first step was finding out that yes she's going to be ok, and she's going to make a full recovery," Amanda Gamble said.
Twenty year old Gamble says she is taking things one step at a time after she found her 23 month old daughter, Evie, severely bruised and beaten nearly a week ago. She says she left the toddler with her boyfriend and a 17 year old babysitter. She says she did not check on the little girl until the next morning and found her daughter's head swollen and bruised.
"I backed up, and I started crying. I said 'Evie what happened?' and she pointed to her head and said 'Evie got owies,' and then she hugged me and then she said, 'Momma, are you ok?'" Gamble said.
Tuesday afternoon Enid police arrested the 17 year old sitter after calling several people back in for questioning. They say at first she told a couple of stories that did not add up before admitting she was the one who abused the little girl.
"She actually got mad at the kid because the kid wouldn't stay in bed," Enid Police Sgt. Dustin Albright said. "She was following the kid back through the kitchen and pushed her with both hands and caused her to fall face-first into the kitchen tile."
It is a story the babysitter's mother does not believe. She claims her daughter was threatened and made it up out of fear. She says her daughter just turned 17 and just became a mother herself five months ago.
"I think she's covering up for somebody," Carol Tunis said. "I really do not believe she put all those bruises on that baby."
It is a cover-up to some, but a tough realization for little Evie's mother.
"Be careful who you leave your kids with," she said. "Be careful who you trust."
The tragedy of what happened to Evie is that this happens every day. But maybe a bigger tragedy is the that Evie will live with those scars for the rest of her life. Others won't.
A 4-year-old boy in Mesa, AZ poops in his pants. The the boyfriend of the mom takes a strap to him. Hard. Too hard. Jorge Busso now faces murder one charges. In Charleston, SC, 3 teenagers thought it would be great sport to hang an 18-month-old child in a closet and beat him. Louis Wright will live. The kids and the mom were charged.
Dee Gilley of Rochester, NY is arrested for what many black parents call discipline: beating a kid with a belt AND an extension cord. This happened to Gilley's 9-year-old stepchild.
Shall I go on?
Once in awhile, there are convictions: Paul Johnson of Knoxville, TN will be in jail for life for killing an 18-month old boy. However in most cases, if there is a conviction, actions that would be considered torture by Amnesty International are ignored.
What is not needed is a trip down Saturday Morning Memory Lane. What IS needed is to look the problem straight in the eye and deal with it. And soon....a child is being beaten in this country right now.